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Washington, DC to Become Fourth U.S. City to Have a Michelin Guide (2016)


Keithstg
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I'll be interested to see how the familiar restaurants fare with the Michelin reviewers. Don's reviews are commendably objective, as are those of the members. 

There's little doubt in my mind that the "name" critics in town are often recognized, and that invariably leads to the best experience possible. I'm not going to ID the restaurant, but I recently visited a restaurant that had been reviewed by the WP, and it was clear they knew the critic was coming. I realize the PR game is important, but it's often difficult know whether reviews offer more hype than substance.

As another example, I suspect many members have read the female-themed brunch-oriented blog. I've found most of their reviews are hit or miss, but what really surprised me was the fact that they have restaurants as partners. (Including Central and the Grill Room, btw). How would anyone be able to look to that site for objective opinions?

 

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45 minutes ago, reedm said:

There's little doubt in my mind that the "name" critics in town are often recognized, and that invariably leads to the best experience possible. I'm not going to ID the restaurant, but I recently visited a restaurant that had been reviewed by the WP, and it was clear they knew the critic was coming.

Oh, hell, I know for a fact that the GM of a medium-important restaurant was on his way home when Tom came in - he got a phone call from an AGM, turned around, and snuck back through the rear entrance - they got a 3-star review. That's one of about a hundred stories I could tell you.

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Don't get me wrong, I have loved my meals at Komi and think that it deserves all of the praise that it gets, but it is not a Michelin 3 star restaurant. Nothing to do with substance, but style.

PS - Of course the major critics are recognized, I've outed Sietsema to restaurants.

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2 hours ago, Bart said:

From Todd Kliman's twiller:

Michelin DC predictions:

3 stars:

Fiola Mare.
Komi.

2 stars:

Plume
Rasika
Metier
Little Serow
Minibar
Rose's

That seems optimistic.   Out of all of those I would guess Metier would be the best chance for 3 (I haven't set foot in the place, but from everything I've read here and elsewhere it best fits the "profile").  My guess is a relative slew of 1 star reviews, and a smattering of 2s with the outside chance of a single 3 star.  They aren't coming here blind; just by choosing DC for a city guide they would already have compiled a laundry list of eligible restaurants.  The official reviews will simply sort them into buckets.

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4 hours ago, JPW said:

PS - Of course the major critics are recognized, I've outed Sietsema to restaurants.

I am in and out of a fair number of well known kitchens around town on a regular basis. There is at least one with a photo spread of all the local critics on the wall- there is one notable local critic whose photo is not in said spread- guess who?

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On 5/31/2016 at 11:08 AM, TedE said:

That seems optimistic.   Out of all of those I would guess Metier would be the best chance for 3 (I haven't set foot in the place, but from everything I've read here and elsewhere it best fits the "profile").  My guess is a relative slew of 1 star reviews, and a smattering of 2s with the outside chance of a single 3 star.  They aren't coming here blind; just by choosing DC for a city guide they would already have compiled a laundry list of eligible restaurants.  The official reviews will simply sort them into buckets.

Pineapples & Pearls should be on that list.

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On 6/2/2016 at 2:30 PM, danielahn31 said:

I'd assume a tasting menu/chef experience/omakase/etc is almost a prerequisite

If you're talking about the 2 & 3*s I would tend to agree.  

one Michelin star represents a “very good restaurant in its category,” while two stars denotes a restaurant boasting “excellent cooking” that is “worth a detour.” Three stars, however, is the ultimate accolade, afforded only to those restaurants that offer “exceptional cuisine” that is “worth a special journey.”

I think it's tough to be "worth a special journey" if someone comes in and orders a single course.  The obvious exception being the tongue taco at La Taqueria in San Francisco.

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Doesn't the quality of the of the silverware and plates and glasses and servers, etc come into play?

For some reason I had the impression that to earn 3 stars, your servers had to be in 3 piece suits and glasses had to be the finest crystal, etc.  

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It will certainly be interesting to see what happens when they put their stars out there.

We all have our favorites and we all think they are the best or some of the best places and want others to know about them and experience them. I think getting a Michelin star or two or three could be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

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Since I have nothing better to do than speculate wildly, I will take a stab at where I think it ends up:

3 stars: none, Michelin will make any deserving restaurant wait and IMO Metier is the only DC restaurant that fits the profile of a 3 star restaurant

2 stars: Metier

1 or 2 star toss up: Fiola Mare, Minibar, P&P (haven't been), Kinship, Komi

1 star: Plume, Rasika, Rose's, Little Serow, Convivial, Marcel's, Jaleo, Rasika, Bombay Club, Fiola, Iron Gate, Masseria, The Source, Bourboun Steak, plus another 1/2 dozen that could go either way (maybe Taro, Ogawa, Seki, Corduroy and 1 or 2 good not great IMO French restaurants).

I think it will be a relatively short list to start, and that you will see more tasting menus and more restaurants prioritize food as something to eat.  The food scene is quite strong, but nowhere close to NY and there are sushi places in NY and SF with 0 stars that are IMO better than DC's best offerings.

Once they move outside DC proper, I suspect Inn at Little Washington will get 3 and that Restaurant Eve, Patowmack Farm, Bartlett Pear will get 1-2 stars.  Can't think of any others I've been to outside DC that are deserving.

Thoughts?

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9 hours ago, ALargeFarva said:

1 star: Plume, Rasika, Rose's, Little Serow, Convivial, Marcel's, Jaleo, Rasika, Bombay Club, Fiola, Iron Gate, Masseria, The Source, Bourboun Steak, plus another 1/2 dozen that could go either way (maybe Taro, Ogawa, Seki, Corduroy and 1 or 2 good not great IMO French restaurants).

....

Once they move outside DC proper, I suspect Inn at Little Washington will get 3 and that Restaurant Eve, Patowmack Farm, Bartlett Pear will get 1-2 stars.  Can't think of any others I've been to outside DC that are deserving.

I think there will be a few steak houses with 1 star.  Red Hen is probably a good bet for another star recipient.

Once the Guide expands outside of DC proper I wonder how regional it will become.   Even on an average traffic day you can get from downtown to Woodberry Kitchen in almost half the time it would take you to get to the Inn.

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This is a yawner for me in general. One point that should be noted; Michelin comes back several times before assigning a rating and service is a big part of the rating. I don't disagree but servers in Europe in many cases choose this as a career, much less so in the US. 

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2 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Oh my God.

Screenshot 2016-07-22 at 18.50.29.png

To its credit, the post did elicit two comments.

To its credit, that chicken rice is phenomenal.  Every time I go to Singapore, I attempt to eat every meal at a hawker stall.  Tian Tian is my usual chicken rice as it's only about 5 minutes from the Marina district where I usually stay. Laziness generally wins when it's 90+ degrees.

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19 minutes ago, zgast said:

To its credit, that chicken rice is phenomenal.  Every time I go to Singapore, I attempt to eat every meal at a hawker stall.  Tian Tian is my usual chicken rice as it's only about 5 minutes from the Marina district where I usually stay. Laziness generally wins when it's 90+ degrees.

@JBRwine

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The release of the Michelin Guide is about one week away. After reading the predictions above, I thought I would offer my own.

Three Stars

minibar

Two Stars

Komi
Métier
Pineapple and Pearls

One Star

Rose's Luxury
Bad Saint
Marcel's
Kinship
Rasika
Masseria
The Dabney
Little Serow

There is always the likelihood that no restaurant in DC will receive three stars. But if there is any restaurant that I think has a chance, it's minibar. Of DC's top-tier dining establishments, it's one that has been around the longest. I'm sure that Michelin inspectors have been vetting DC for a few years now, so they have had many opportunities investigate minibar for consistency. It's for that reason I think Komi could also get three stars. But I think the safer bet is to go with two.

I'm confident that Kinship and Rose's Luxury will both receive a star. But evaluating their respective casual counterparts, Métier and Pineapple and Pearls, is tricky because they haven't been open for as long. It is not unprecedented for Michelin to award two stars to a restaurant shortly after it opens (see Grace and 42 Grams). And the meals I had at both restaurants are on par with 2 Michelin star experiences I've had. Over the next year or two, I expect to see at least one of these restaurants (most likely Métier) receive a third star.

Bad Saint and Little Serow are arguably the two best Asian restaurants in DC. If only one of these restaurants gets a star, I think it would be Little Serow. But If I'm right and both restaurants are rewarded, I wouldn't count on the lines getting shorter anytime soon.

The Dabney is my dark horse pick. Quite frankly, I'm surprised that it hasn't been suggested more often. The reviews on this forum have been mixed from the beginning, though I've noticed more positive reports recently. It's a restaurant that seems to receive higher praise from media outside the city than from locals. Perhaps this will carry over to Michelin appraisal.

A couple restaurants that may be conspicuously absent from my predictions:

Convivial - I know this makes me an outlier, but I think this restaurant is overrated. I don't think it's bad. Just average.

Fiola Mare - I haven't been here yet, so I feel that putting it on my list would accurately reflect my personal experience That said, from all the positive reviews I've seen from critics and foodies alike, I wouldn't be surprised if it were to get one or two stars.
 

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10 minutes ago, CapitalGourmand said:

Michelin has released the DC's first Bib Gourmand list. Bad Saint is on the list, so it looks like it won't be getting a star after all.

Washington Post Going Out Guide: Michelin announces its first D.C. honors: the Bib Gourmand list of affordable restaurants

And it's only going to get worse from here.

I was wondering, and am going to write an essay about, how on earth they could fill up an entire Red Guide - now it's pretty clear: Different standards for different countries (and different cities). 

There's something many people haven't realized about Michelin, but I'll address that in my upcoming essay.

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2 hours ago, DonRocks said:

There's something many people haven't realized about Michelin, but I'll address that in my upcoming essay.

Please do Don!  And include lots of information for those of us who know nothing on the subject other than the name of the guide!  For instance, I've never heard of the Bib Gourmand and have no idea what CapitalGourmand's comment means.  I haven't clicked the link yet, and can make an educated guess from the context, but feel free to dumb down your article for the peanut gallery!

 

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reminder: a Bib Gourmand cannot be awarded to a restaurant that gets a Michelin Star, and is supposed to be the "cheap eats" places - $40 for 2 courses and either a dessert or a glass of wine.

Bib Gourmands were awarded to:

Bad Saint
Bidwell
Boqueria
Chercher
China Chilcano
Das
Doi Moi
Jaleo
Kyirisan
Lapis
Maketto
Ottoman Taverna
Oyamel
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
Red Hen
Royal
Thip Khao
2Amys
Zaytinya

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It's a puzzling list and I feel like some of the odd choices (i.e. Bidwell) results in a loss of credibility for the whole thing.  I am happy to see Maketto and Kyrisan on the list (although I'm not sure that it's really a Cheap Eats kind of place).  Red Hen and Thip Khao are great choices IMO.There are three restaurants on the list that I've never heard of (Chercher, Das and Lapis- but maybe that's just me.

Will be interesting to see how those stars play out.

 

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21 hours ago, franch said:

reminder: a Bib Gourmand cannot be awarded to a restaurant that gets a Michelin Star, and is supposed to be the "cheap eats" places - $40 for 2 courses and either a dessert or a glass of wine.

Bib Gourmands were awarded to:

Bad Saint
Bidwell
Boqueria
Chercher
China Chilcano
Das
Doi Moi
Jaleo
Kyirisan
Lapis
Maketto
Ottoman Taverna
Oyamel
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
Red Hen
Royal
Thip Khao
2Amys
Zaytinya

A bizarre list of restaurants by a bizarre publication. I'm glad they didn't out El Sol or Baan Thai or the many other actual cheap eats that are far more delicious than this slapdash collection. But, hey, they will sell their books. And chefs and restauranteurs will have their bibs or stars to hang on their walls.

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57 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

A bizarre list of restaurants by a bizarre publication. I'm glad they didn't out El Sol or Baan Thai or the many other actual cheap eats that are far more delicious than this slapdash collection. But, hey, they will sell their books. And chefs and restauranteurs will have their bibs or stars to hang on their walls.

Bidwell, Das, Doi Moi, Lapis, Pearl Dive, and Royal seem weird. (and we know how I feel about 2Amys being lauded...)

not that surprising - the NYC Bibs are weird too.

Sietsema seems to think Bad Saint should have had a star (I haven't been)... I think Kyirisan could at least be in the running for a star...

my predictions:

3 Stars:
Minibar by Jose Andres

2 Stars:
Fiola Mare
Komi
Metier
Pineapple and Pearls

1 Star:
Bourbon Steak
Convivial
Fiola
Little Serow
Masseria
Rose's Luxury
Rasika
Sushi Taro

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3 hours ago, franch said:

my predictions:

No 1-star for Kinship, Corduroy, Marcel's, or The Grill Room? I think they're solid 1-stars, perhaps high 1-stars, even by French standards (there are plenty of "not great" 1-stars in France, although they're generally very good - quite honestly, I've been to 2- and 3-star restaurants in France where I've left scratching my head, wondering how on earth they got their rating (the answer: At the end of the day, Michelin inspectors are *no different* than you or me, and they make mistakes all the time - compounded, since they're rating by committee instead of by the decisions of a single individual (this necessarily means that standards will differ from restaurant-to-restaurant - don't kid yourself and think otherwise)).

Interestingly (and this is not meant to be a slam), two of the five restaurants you predict for 2 and 3 stars - and your list may very well be correct - are largely pre-prepped food. Don't ask me to name them; just get to know people who work in their kitchens.

I cannot predict anything about the list, because the standards are so vastly different for Washington, DC than they are in France or other European countries that they do not compute (I've never paid attention to the Michelin system in other U.S. cities other than to take an initial glance the first year it came out for New York City - that was enough to make me ignore it going forward). Wines, cocktails, or beers, for example, do not seem to matter in this country (by Michelin, or by any other publication), despite drinks usually being a hefty percentage of the bill.

Example: I went to a one-star restaurant in New York City almost three weeks ago, and I had no idea it had a star until just this minute. In the past week, I plowed through five stars in France, and I knew full well what they were in advance.

In France, they have a new symbol called "Assiette Michelin" which simply means "Une cuisine de qualité," which is defined as "Fresh ingredients, capably prepared, simply a good meal." - any restaurant not getting a star or a Bib Gourmand, but still included in the guide, gets this designation, and it's by no means an insult - just being included in the guide is supposed to be a mark of quality. I'm pretty sure (not 100% sure) that *any* restaurant that meets this criteria, and is also priced less than 32 Euros (36 Euros in Paris) gets a "Bib Gourmand" instead - I don't think the Bib Gourmand is any different than the Assiette Michelin at all, except for the price (it wouldn't surprise me if places like Le Diplomate will be in this category). This said, I'd like to see someone escape from all of Washington DC's "Bib Gourmand" restaurants for under $40 for two courses, and a glass of wine or dessert, e.g., look at Pearl Dive's appetizerentrée, and dessert prices - I semi-randomly chose a chopped salad, seafood gumbo, and coconut cream pie, and the price was $48 before tax and tip. Also, don't forget that in France, tax and tip is included in the price; in the U.S., it adds about 30% to the bill, so that $48 instantly becomes $62.40. More on this later.

What do you do with something like Negril, Crisp and Juicy, Earl's Sandwiches, Chaia, Ravi Kabob, or Max's Cafe? Oh, okay, I'll wait ...

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So (and I ask this as an actual question, not to make a point) who is the target audience for the Michelin Guides for cities in this country?  To ask what may be the same question or may be slightly different, is it a publication that makes a profit through book sales or are the economics of it more complicated somehow?  And to bring this back to DC: are they more nearly looking to sell this book to prosperous people visiting from Alabama, or to prosperous people visiting from London or Tokyo, or not worrying about sales at all?

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12 hours ago, sheldman said:

 or not worrying about sales at all?

Oh, they're worried about sales, all right; just not sales of their book. How many times have people here said or thought about the word "Michelin" in the past year, when they normally wouldn't have said or thought about it at all?

Michelin's revenues in 2015 were *25 billion dollars* - do you think they give a flip about selling restaurant guides?

The brand recognition of the Red and Green Guides is so strong that many people don't even realize it's the tire company that produces them, and I should add that the guides - for both hotels and restaurants - even in France - are often just flat-out wrong. There are ultimately human beings behind the ratings, and these are very fallible people. They don't even know who the other inspectors are, and the guides are a prime example of "rating by committee," which is almost always a bad idea because no individuals are held accountable for letting down the public. If you vehemently disagree with a rating, and feel ripped off (as happened to me once last week), to whom do you complain?

michelin-logo.jpg

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10 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Oh, they're worried about sales, all right; just not sales of their book. How many times have people here said or thought about the word "Michelin" in the past year, when they normally wouldn't have said or thought about it at all?

Then this raises further questions: is a list like the "Bib Gourmand" in the DC book even meant to be correct in any sense?  Or, is it meant somehow as a signaling device to Americans who buy tires (like, "hey bud, you are a sophisticated guy, here's a list that includes an Ethiopian restaurant in Georgetown, which is the part of DC you've heard of, and we're cool like you so buy our tires")?

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14 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Interestingly (and this is not meant to be a slam), two of the five restaurants you predict for 2 and 3 stars - and your list may very well be correct - are largely pre-prepped food. Don't ask me to name them; just get to know people who work in their kitchens.

Don, I've read your comments about "pre-prepped" food before, but I'm not quite sure what you mean in the context of upscale restaurants. Will you provide some examples? Surely you're not referring to frozen dinners or the like, but I expect there is a ton of preparation involved in many dishes.

I'm asking out of curiosity only, and I'm not questioning you or being snarky. :-)

 

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1 hour ago, reedm said:

Don, I've read your comments about "pre-prepped" food before, but I'm not quite sure what you mean in the context of upscale restaurants. Will you provide some examples? Surely you're not referring to frozen dinners or the like, but I expect there is a ton of preparation involved in many dishes.

I'm asking out of curiosity only, and I'm not questioning you or being snarky. :-)

No, it's a legitimate question. I mean that during dinner service, the vast majority of what's required to prepare the dishes has already been done earlier in the day. 

Now, I understand that prep cooks get in early at *all* fine-dining restaurants, and chop vegetables, prepare canapés, etc., but some restaurants take this "pre-prep" a few steps further than others, and by the time service rolls around, there isn't much left to do, except heat (if required), plate (which itself can be quite intricate), and serve.

It isn't that the food has been pre-cooked sous vide; it's that it has been mostly pre-prepped earlier in the day (that's why I'm saying, it's not a slam; it just is what it is).

Just last week, I went to a Michelin one-star in France, and *the entire meal* had been pre-prepped, with the exception of heating up the main course. That having been said, we were staying at a sister hotel, and got a three-course prix-fixe dinner, available only for those staying at the hotel, for 30 Euros. Yes, it was overwhelmingly pre-prepped, but I could also easily see that this was a legitimate one-star restaurant (by French standards), even though we didn't have a one-star meal, and at "Restaurant Week" pricing? Not much to complain about.

2 hours ago, sheldman said:

Then this raises further questions: is a list like the "Bib Gourmand" in the DC book even meant to be correct in any sense?  Or, is it meant somehow as a signaling device to Americans who buy tires (like, "hey bud, you are a sophisticated guy, here's a list that includes an Ethiopian restaurant in Georgetown, which is the part of DC you've heard of, and we're cool like you so buy our tires")?

I have no reason to think that Michelin doesn't try their best to do a good job - the guides have been out since just after the advent of the motor car, and the inspectors they use are competent diners as a whole. Even the most well-meaning attempt to rank the world's restaurants is going to come up short, but yes, I think they believe their ratings are correct when they issue them, even though they've always tried to maintain "the mystique of anonymity" which doesn't work in the internet era (or, at least, it won't for much longer). I would *love* to debate a DC Michelin inspector about where to dine in DC.

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17 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I should add that the guides - for both hotels and restaurants - even in France - are often just flat-out wrong. There are ultimately human beings behind the ratings, and these are very fallible people. They don't even know who the other inspectors are, and the guides are a prime example of "rating by committee," which is almost always a bad idea because no individuals are held accountable for letting down the public. If you vehemently disagree with a rating, and feel ripped off (as happened to me once last week), to whom do you complain?

I think Sheldman asked a very important question.  Unfortunately, in everyone's rush to anoint or bash michelin not enough people have thought about ratings, dining guides etc... under the context of who is their audience.  Taste is subjective.  Different people are looking for different things from an experience at any given restaurant.  Anyone that is blindly using any guide is bound to be disappointed at times if they're basing their decisions solely on that guide.  I've eaten at restaurants that you've raved about and had great meals, and I've eaten at restaurants you've raved at and had mediocre meals.  Does that make you wrong?  I ate at El Bulli with Grant Achatz, he loved it but I didn't.  Does that make him wrong?  The next night we ate at El Raco con Fabes, I loved it, he didn't.  Does that make him wrong?

When I had a bad meal at a restaurant you recommended did I complain to you?  yes i did.  Can you complain to michelin?  yes you can.  I don't have michelin programmed into my phone so admittedly it's much easier to complain to you.  There is no dining guide that takes responsibility for their reviews by reimbursing people that have bad experiences at restaurants they've rated highly.  Sure I've heard you say to people, if you don't love it I'll buy it for you, but is that really your practice for your dining guide that if anyone goes to a restaurant you have in italics and don't think it's great they can send you the bill for reimbursement?  Now I do realize that nowhere in your post did you even allude to expecting reimbursement, but what is your expectation in asking the question of...."If you vehemently disagree with a rating, and feel ripped off (as happened to me once last week), to whom do you complain?"  Do you really expect them to reprint their guide and change the rating solely because you disagree with them?  I'm willing to bet if they got enough letters from enough people they would certainly revisit a restaurant more frequently than normal.  

Doesn't the key to using guides successfully lie in understanding the guides criteria, how it works, and in some ways it's palate?  Taking Robert Parker as an example.  I find his evaluation of Bordeaux wines to be useful(note I did not say 100% to my liking).  However, as it pertains to white wines not at all.  The great thing about Robert Parker as a resource is that he's very consistent in my opinion and that consistency makes it easy to discern what his palate is.  He consistently rates white rhone wines with huge scores.  He seems to love white wines that I consider big, fat, obnoxious, flabby, low-acid and heavy.  Generally speaking, I don't like white rhone.  I really don't like the white rhones that he gives massive scores to.  Does that make him wrong?  To immediately dismiss him because I disagree would be foolish.  To understand how/why he rates things the way he does makes his reviews useful.  Simply put, I'll read what he writes about Bordeaux, I won't even look at what he writes about white rhone.

For some people the michelin guide will be useful, for some people not at all.  I disagree with some of the people that are trying to degrade them.

So who is their target audience, and is a Washington DC guide good for you?  

 

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2 hours ago, Eric Ziebold said:

Do you really expect them to reprint their guide and change the rating solely because you disagree with them?  I'm willing to bet if they got enough letters from enough people they would certainly revisit a restaurant more frequently than normal.  

It wasn't a restaurant; it was a hotel that they had marked in red for "our most delightful places," and it simply wasn't - it was a fine hotel, but it shouldn't have been marked in red. This was not a close call.

I didn't feel ripped off financially; I felt like I had been misled to a hotel that should have been charming; yet it was a pretty straightforward place without any noteworthy charms.

I'm pretty sure the last thing I said I'd reimburse people for was when I raved about the tacos at Chaia - if anyone ordered based solely on my recommendation, and felt misled, and wrote me, I would have mailed them a reimbursement; I would never be dumb enough to make such an offer about the dining guide as a whole, especially when I don't even charge people for using it, and I emphasize in the FAQ that my guide is intended to be a rough approximation; not the final word. Restaurants are the single hardest thing for a critic to rate accurately, because they're ever-changing organisms.

The difference is, I'm individually accountable for my dining guide, and people have someone to point a finger at if they disagree with something. In 11+ years, I have acted upon every single letter that has ever been sent to me (the exception being that I still have some unread messages in my inbox). With Michelin, you have *no idea* who's responsible for anything. That said, I just used it a *lot* in France over the past ten days - I think it's pretty good in France, and I use it every time I go, both for restaurants and hotels.

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I’m conflicted by the deserved recognition of premium service & taste vs the craving for those in the business to work towards a meal deemed worthy of top honors and a detour  as judged by a bucket list guide rather than making food and getting it to a preferred audience to please them and themselves, first and foremost. 

I’m also puzzled to see a Sally Field’s flavored horse race for culinary validation in a city with a nearly 20% poverty rate  and barely a dozen worthwhile bakers, butchers, fish mongers or even a legitimate produce store with a permanent roof for those passionate about food and cooking at home in a capital of 600,000+.  Sure, populist food and altruism doesn’t win splashy distinctions or notches on globetrotting diners’ Instabook page,  but the recent spate of Rabelaisian dining lyceums should be offset by a few gestures from the best in show to make better (quality and variety) food  available to those who don’t have the time and coffers to eat out but value the good stuff.  Restaurant figureheads needn’t commit to the needs of the starved like noble attorneys who donate to the Innocence Project, but it would be pleasant to see more chef/restaurateurs embrace and promote the US’s struggling food culture instead of using it as a springboard for personal gain –even if its honey-glazed community service retribution for wage theft and flimsy food labeling or getting publicity from a civil rights dinner playbill.

Those in DC and the rest of the country that care enough about their food don’t need more restaurants that are too difficult to get into either by virtue of price or popularity which comes with these tire prizes.  They need access to the same food that restaurants have (like in the land of Michelin) to be able to gauge what a restaurant can do with it rather than simply the novelty and rare chance to taste it. And for a further audit, inspectors should rummage behind the curtain a bit, find out if the restaurants pay their staff livable wages, offer benefits, recycles and have curbed  fraudulent menu descriptors (is that “grass-fed” NY strip on the menu of one of the Bib recs really “100% grass fed” or “100% bullshit”).  Those are qualities that matter more to diners than a decade ago.

Then there’s the terrible shame not to see the more than averagely qualified, capable and proficient Frank Ruta on the oddschecker.  Maybe he’ll get a pat-on-the-back  lifetime achievement footnote.

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On my last trip to Europe (Belgium), I relied on the Michelin guide.  I ate at a number of starred restaurants and a number of bib gourmand.  Every pick was good to excellent.  Their website has maps, so I can see what's nearby.  I've even consulted their NYC guide.  As for their DC bib gourmand list, it ain't too bad, not many duds on that list.  I certainly don't think any of them deserved to be starred.  There's a lot of teeth gnashing about Bad Saint.  Food aside, you're eating on a ledge for the most part.  That alone makes it not star worthy.  I ate at Tim Ho Wan (in HK), the cheapest starred restaurant.  At least you sit at a table there.

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On October 7, 2016 at 6:12 PM, DonRocks said:

No 1-star for Kinship, Corduroy, Marcel's, or The Grill Room? I think they're solid 1-stars, perhaps high 1-stars, even by French standards (there are plenty of "not great" 1-stars in France, although they're generally very good - quite honestly, I've been to 2- and 3-star restaurants in France where I've left scratching my head, wondering how on earth they got their rating (the answer: At the end of the day, Michelin inspectors are *no different* than you or me, and they make mistakes all the time - compounded, since they're rating by committee instead of by the decisions of a single individual (this necessarily means that standards will differ from restaurant-to-restaurant - don't kid yourself and think otherwise)).

Agreed. I suspect Grill Room will NOT be listed, basically a late scratch given the looming departure of Frank and Aggie to go to the new place from GR, though.

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On 10/7/2016 at 9:57 PM, DonRocks said:

Oh, they're worried about sales, all right; just not sales of their book. How many times have people here said or thought about the word "Michelin" in the past year, when they normally wouldn't have said or thought about it at all?

Michelin's revenues in 2015 were *25 billion dollars* - do you think they give a flip about selling restaurant guides?

michelin-logo.jpg

"Somebody's been sleeping in my bed," Papa bear growled.

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Washingtonian (sans Kliman) offers its own alternative list.  I don't think it's much, if any, better than Michelin's -- of the places not on the Michelln list, only Seki and Daikaya Ramen obviously belong.  (P.S.  For those who haven't figured it out yet, Timber is much better than All Purpose.)

https://www.washingtonian.com/2016/10/07/19-restaurants-michelins-bib-gourmand-list/ 

All Purpose
Baan Thai
Bindaas
Chercher*
Compass Rose
Daikaya Ramen 
Ethiopic
Estadio
Ghibellina
Jaleo*
Kyrisan*
Hank’s Oyster Bar
Izakaya Seki
Maketto*
Panda Gourmet
Rappahannock Oyster Bar
Red Hen*
Thip Khao*
2 Amys*
(*:  Also on Michellin)

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10 minutes ago, Marty L. said:

Washingtonian (sans Kliman) offers its own alternative list.  I don't think it's much, if any, better than Michelin's -- of the places not on the Michelln list, only Seki and Daikaya Ramen obviously belong.  (P.S.  For those who haven't figured it out yet, Timber is much better than All Purpose.)

Washingtonian's going for glory - don't forget they also "told" President Obama where he should dine when he got elected, hoping that something would come of it (nothing did).

I thought about doing the same thing for about two seconds, and quickly realized what a bad idea it was.

In terms of Michelin, I am unable to offer up a Bib Gourmand list, because what they produced for DC is so completely unrelated to the Bib Gourmands I'm familiar with, that they're speaking a language I simply don't understand. I guess if anyone wants to produce my list, take the Italic restaurants (with places like Blues Alley and Ben's Chili Bowl removed), and figure out which ones cost under $40 - you'd see my version is probably 3-4 times the size as other peoples', because I think there are dozens of places you can get a good meal under $40 in DC.

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25 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

I'm thinking of having a chat with the Absolute King of Michelin dining, who nobody seems to know but me - in fact, we've been discussing it for months. Is anyone interested?

You mean someone who travels to eat at Michelin starred restaurants?  I'm more interested in finding out who the Michelin inspectors are.  I personally think having multiple anonymous inspectors would produce a less biased or subjective report.

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